This Japanese Sweetener Is Here to Overhaul Your Gut Health

Photo: Half Baked Harvest

There's no denying that fermented foods are so hot right now. Packed with probiotics and promising to reboot your gut health, the food category has garnered a strong fan following since its resurgence in popularity. Fermented food lovers are familiar with kimchee, sauerkraut and—of course—kombucha, but there's an under-the-radar ferment on the market that's poised to be the next big thing.

Ama-koji hails from Japan and is just beginning to garner attention. The sweeter, fermented cousin of koji—Japan's national fungus that you have to thank for miso, soy sauce and sake—ama-koji is regularly used as a natural sweetener that happens to also overhaul your gut health due to its particular blend of probiotics. This win-win ingredient may sound too good to be true—a sugar replacement that heals your gut, as MindBodyGreen recently described it. The site even provides step-by-step instructions for how to prepare and ferment ama-koji at home with a slow cooker. All you need is rice, water and rice koji, which you can find at Whole Foods or Asian grocery stores. Once you've brewed up your own batch of the sweet koji, you can use it to sweeten your morning oatmeal, coffee or smoothie or even to make homemade ice cream.

Now check out six more fermented foods we love for their flavour and digestive properties.